Beijing 2022 draws out plan to reduce carbon footprint

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Beijing 2022 sustainability Image: Chinese Olympic Committee / MJR Group Ltd.

The Beijing 2022 Olympic Organizing Committee has announced that most of the ice venues for the sporting gala will use natural CO2 refrigeration systems to decrease the overall carbon footprint at the Games. The landmark decision was announced by the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee, as it joins the UN Sports for Climate Action framework, led by the International Committee (IOC).

This will be the first time the technology is used in China and at the Olympic Games. It signifies a reduction of carbon emissions equal to the yearly footprint of almost 3,900 cars (more than 26,000,000 kg). A similar carbon reduction could also be achieved by planting more than 1,200,000 trees.

“This is a landmark decision which could potentially help address the issue of climate change, both in China and even globally,” the IOC Coordination Commission for these Games stated. “We are pleased to see that the IOC’s close collaboration with Beijing 2022 has resulted in such an important outcome.”

The decision was made possible thanks to close collaboration between Beijing 2022, International Sports Federations and the IOC, which provided guidance and technical expertise on the topic. As a result, natural CO2 refrigerants, which have no impact on the environment, will be used in the Beijing 2022 speed skating, figure skating and short track venues, as well as the ice hockey training venues. Refrigerant R449, which has a low Global Warming Potential, will be used in the ice hockey and curling venues.

As part of its low carbon management plan, Beijing 2022 has also announced that it has joined the UN Sports for Climate Action framework. The framework was launched by UN Climate Change in December 2018, with the IOC taking a leadership role in its development and implementation. Its aim is to set a clear trajectory for the sports community to contribute to global climate goals.

Beijing 2022 is the latest of almost 40 sports organizations that have signed up to the framework so far. Other signatories include the Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024.

The IOC’s involvement in this development stems from its strong commitment to sustainability, which is a key pillar of Olympic Agenda 2020 – the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement. As part of this commitment, the IOC is working to ensure that sustainability principles are embedded across all its operations: as an organization, as the owner of the Olympic Games and as the leader of the Olympic Movement.

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